Sometimes I make something like a veggie stew or pasta sauce and realise that it could become a delicious soup with just a little extra water. That’s exactly how this Tomato, Butterbean and Spinach Pesto Soup came about. I had made it as a sauce for baking with gnocchi, similar to this recipe, and I thought it would make a great soup; something a bit different from a normal tomato soup. And I was right. Full of flavour, colour and easy to make from a few ingredients you probably already have in the cupboards.
Comforting, nourishing and wholesome; there’s nothing quite like a bowl of soup. It’s my lunch of choice, especially during the week when I want something quick and easy. I like to vary what I have with my soup and more often than not I don’t have it with bread, preferring to have a salad or some leftovers on the side. This recipe for roasted superfood salad works particularly well with Baxters new Super Good Chicken Noodle Soup because the turmeric, chillies and carrots in the soup mirror the flavours of the salad. The Baxters Super Good range is made to help you eat well and feel great; full of flavour and health-boosting ingredients.
I always think cauliflower is at its very best when served with cheese. As much as I think this is still true I have been really enjoying roasting and frying it lately and this cauliflower and sundried tomato pasta is my current favourite way to eat cauliflower. Cheap to make, vegan, delicious and so fast to cook; we’re talking 15 minutes from fridge to table. If only all weeknight cooking could be like this!
You will need (for four servings):
- 300g pasta £0.30
- 1 small romanesco (or other) cauliflower, chopped into small florets £1.50
- 6 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped £0.30
- 2 small garlic cloves, crushed £0.10
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil £0.15
- Pinch saffron £0.50
- Salt and pepper £0.02
You’ll need a pan full of boiling water with a steamer to go on top. It’s no problem if you don’t have a steamer; you’ll just need an extra pan of boiling water for the cauliflower.
Just look at those Chioggia beetroot. Aren’t they beautiful? Not only do these beetroot, also known as candy beetroot, look brilliant their vibrant stripes can’t fail to cheer you up even on the gloomiest of days. These beetroot, horseradish and salmon sandwiches came about because I love the combination of earthy, sweet beetroot and fiery horseradish with smoked foods. That, and I fancied something for lunch that wasn’t just toast! Another great thing about this variety of beetroot is that you don’t need to clean the entire kitchen after peeling them; they have hardly any of the staining power of their deep purple cousin.
I love a mince pie, but they have to be just right. I want the pastry to mince filling ratio to be almost 50:50; too much filling and you can forget it. Preferably my mince pies will be warm and covered in (clotted, ideally) cream. However, I can’t possibly eat that every single day and I still need my mince pie fix. This is how my Mince Pie Fruit Loaf came about; designed to have all the fruity spiciness from a mince pie but without the pastry and cream. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of butter for spreading!
I really struggle to know what to have for lunch sometimes. Usually I am scrambling round in the cupboards trying to find some sort of suitable sandwich filling but I do get terribly bored of sandwiches. If I’m lucky I’ll have some keptovers to warm up and I do pay a visit to a local independent café from time to time too. Well enough is enough. I have decided to batch cook and freeze a range of healthy, filling, vegan soups; one of which is this Chipotle and Bean Soup. So that I can grab whichever soup I fancy and not have to think about what’s on the meal plan for dinner I am making them vegan, stuffed full of veg and flavour packed. I hate to have the same thing for lunch and dinner you see!
The weather has certainly changed, although I do consider November to technically be in autumn things have started to get much wintrier. With ice in the mornings, digging scarves and hats out of the drawers and the fire blazing it’s definitely the time of year for soup. The more filling and comforting the soup the better and my autumn vegetable minestrone is exactly that; a restorative bowl of loveliness. Filled with six different vegetables including beans to bulk it all out it’s simple, speedy, cheap and delicious.
Sometimes things look tastier than they are and I often find that the reverse is also true. This harissa roasted squash and red rice looks ok, if slightly on the orange side, but trust me when I say it is delicious. Full of colour and flavour, the slight spiciness from the harissa works wonders with the sweet butternut squash. Red rice does take longer to cook than white rice but its nutty wholesomeness is well worth the wait. Bung this oven, sit back and get ready for a taste of autumn; it’s ready faster than you’d think.
When the nights get darker and colder I reach for two things: one is the big cast iron saucepan and the other is my collection of spices. But for all the big flavours, homely soups, stews and curries that seem so apt at this time of year sometimes I crave a little delicacy. Something subtle, light and simple is what I’m after and these Lemon Almond Biscuits are exactly that. Just the ticket at the end of a busy day with a cup of tea, preferably Earl Grey. These little biscuits take less than half an hour from start to finish; perfect.
There’s a bit of a miso theme on the blog at the moment. For two reasons: firstly, miso is delicious and secondly, it’s expensive and you have to buy quite a lot. So I needed to use up my stash and I really wanted to have a go at my own miso roasted aubergine. Most of the ingredients used are pretty standard store cupboard staples; I was pretty amazed how much more than the sum of its parts this recipe is. It’s fantastic, if I do say so myself, and my miso glaze and my soy dressing will be making many future appearances in my kitchen.